Spreading my tentacles…in LOVE

The first time I met Aadisht he gave me a copy of Ravi Subramanian’s* execrable If God Was a Banker. Some months later on a lovely November afternoon we sat in a cafe and roared over Tuhin Sinha’s That Thing Called LOVE: An Unusual Romance…and the Mumbai Rain. We haven’t read the new Chetan Bhagat book yet, but a certain pattern seems to be developing.

So in July I thought it fitting to gift him a copy of The Saga of LOVE Via Telephone…Tring Tring by one Pankaj Pandey. But he went back to Bombay the next day and I hadn’t had a chance to read it until I came across a copy this afternoon.

It seems that capitalising LOVE and putting in some ellipses is fashionable among young writers at the moment. Hopefully this post will find takers, therefore.

Anyway. The Saga of LOVE Via Telephone…Tring Tring (referred to as LVT for the rest of this post) tells the story of an engineering student named Pankaj and his girlfriend Shikha. Pankaj’s first encounter with Shikha is described in the first paragraph of the book:

She emerged through the lane from her classroom with open hair, a tinge of lip-liner, walking next to hundreds of students, some standing right in her path. Without getting perturbed, she walked across the lawn, went to the library, returned her books, and walked back on the same path before disappearing out of sight.
It was amazing…
I have never seen a girl behave in such a different manner.

Stunned by Shikha’s (apparently unique) method of returning her library books, Pankaj feels that he has to get to know her. So he approaches her on Orkut with a friendship request.

Within ten days of my love at first sight, I had started mailing her on Orkut. For the first six days I did not receive any reply. But I was not the one to be easily disheartened. I continued to mail her at regular intervals till she was forced to enquire about me. I just wanted to be noticed by her.

Pankaj’s methods of meeting girls are brought into some sort of perspective when we learn this about his roommate Anurag:

He possessed the knack for flirting, making friends and waiting for girls outside their houses, just in front of their windows so that he could catch a glimpse of them.

Anyway, Pankaj and Shikha begin to talk on the phone and fall for each other. As Pankaj himself puts it,

I would rather say that I gradually started spreading my tentacles in love.

Yep, we have hit upon what is possibly the only book published in India in 2008 to deal with tentacle porn.

Like That Thing Called Love, every page of LVT yields new treasures that I’d love to share. But here are a few favourites:

I was in search of a book which would help me in understanding girls – their worries, anxiety, what they liked and what they hated most in boys. I went to “Crossword” where such books are easily available.

She was an obdurate sort of girl, with a quiet nature. She always seemed lost in her world. She was blunt to the core. In real sense she was a ‘scrounge’.

“was she in nemesis?” I thought several times.

Then, started my saturnine days.

Every single moment two things were uppermost in my mind – Shikha and Shri Krishna.

“Trauma has restricted the movement of life force from one to the other centre and caused the energy system to go haywire. He needs serious attention. He has become dormant,” was the doctor’s advice.

I love her unconditionally. If the situation warrants, I’ll be manqué.

What will Pankaj do in this perplexed and imbroglio situation?

There are also some amazing clothing related sections:

“Why don’t you try that parrot coloured shirt and chocolate coloured trousers? You dazzle in that combination.”

Each one of us decked ourselves to the best in swanky clothes, cool hair-style and funky looks.

I simply say “grey” because I lack the vocabulary to describe the colour of her trousers.

And then there’s Pandey’s fondness for literary quotations – one at the beginning of each chapter and a few scattered instances in the text. Included are Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jane Austen, Marcel Proust and P.B. Shelley, among others. There’s a sublime moment where he quotes Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner at a time when Pankaj is especially depressed and earnestly explains that “The ice of Samuel Taylor had become my tears”.

LVT ends rather tragically, with Pankaj and Shikha parted due to circumstances. But the hundred odd pages that make up the book are only a part of the Saga of LVT. As we are informed on the last page,

This story cannot end here…
Saga of love is indicating evocative scenes of hubbub and excitement…
Wait for the next part…

I shall.

*Who I’m not related to, as far as I know.

15 Responses to “Spreading my tentacles…in LOVE”

  1. hilarious! but you mean you actually buy these books? instead of just sitting on those stool that places like Crossword easily provide?

  2. This is freaky! My parents are Pankaj and Shikha. Though I’m sure the book isn’t by my father… their story didn’t have a tragic end. :)

    I shall hunt for this book.

  3. Well, it’s the existence of books like these that smooth over the hurt of Meyer stopping her Twilight Books.

    Goodbye sparkly vampires, hello tentacle of LOVE!

  4. aisha, are you an obdurate kind of girl with a quiet nature? i have long suspected that you are in a real sense a “scrounge”, possibly even in nemesis.

    or perhaps it’s just me, beginning my saturnine days.

    space bar: yes, even mr pandey knows that books like this are easily available if you go to “Crossword”. but a shelf full of titles with “…LOVE…LOVE…” on them can do wonders for a living room. it could make a great ice-breaker for visitors, and even get you out of a perplexed and imbroglio situation.

  5. Space Bar – But these books merit rereads. Many rereads.

    Sumedha – When is your parents’ anniversary? This would be an excellent present idea.

    Vishal – But there’s still Meyer’s Midnight Sun, for those who can stomach more of her.
    Bring on the love tentacles!

    Rishab – It is quite possible that I am indeed a “scrounge”. I am most perplexed and imbroglio about what this actually entails though.

  6. Vishal – Oh noes, I just read that article. No Midnight Sun?

  7. i simply say “wow” because i do not have the vocabulary to describe the hubbub you have created in my humerus. thank you!

  8. TR – I am glad to hear about your hubbub. Maybe you should spread your tentacles?

  9. UGH Im sure that book must have given you nightmares!!!!…LOL

  10. In all fairness to Pankaj, being able to walk NEXT to hundreds of people, some of whom are standing in your path, is actually fairly impressive. It’s the sort of thing you expect from Democrat Presidential nominees. Why, if there’d been girls like that around when I went to college I might have been tempted to deck myself in a funky look or two myself. Though I draw the line at parrot colored shirts. There’s a change I can’t believe in.

  11. Harsh – Whatever do you mean? It was charming.

    Falstaff – You make a good point. Unfortunately the thought of you in a parrot coloured shirt has caused me to enter saturnine days and become dormant.

  12. Howlarious is an understatement !!
    I’m positive you’ll enjoy ‘Sumthing of a mocktale’ by Soma Das (set in JNU)…similar on the drivel quotient

  13. Pankaj Pandey is a (non-Euclidean)manifestation of the Eldritch William McGonagall. The Dread McGonagall unleashed shrieking insanity upon this world with His poetry. Pankaj Pandey continues His blasphemous work. For what is greater than shrieking insanity, other than gibbering lunacy?

    -r

  14. Shivani – I read the last page of that book and trembled.

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